Art On A Silver Platter
The USS Delaware Silver Gallery at the Delaware State Archives consists of 22 pieces, including war memorabilia, such as dining silverware, and paintings costing a sum of $10,000. $1,000 came from the State while the rest was raised by the citizens.
All of the silver pieces in the collection have a Delaware connection.
At the beginning of the 20th century, silver sets were often given to commanders of battleships.
“It had been a practice that when a battleship, the USS Delaware for instance was commissioned, the state would raise funds from the public to present a silver set to the commander, officers, and members of the ship,” archivist Stephen Marz said. “And this is that actual set that was presented in 1910.”
The intricately carved solid silver set gives the room a gleaming allure.
The center of the set, a 45-pound punch bowl, acts as an ornate centerpiece to the collection. Its handles are delicately curved, with grooves set in the piece to hold flowers.
The most recognizable features found at different locations on the bowl are the State seal, the National seal, and the figures of Columbia and Liberty. Dolphins are used to form the handles that connect to the State seal that defines the oak, fern, and fruits of Delaware. The bowl also helps to capture the original Delaware while also illustrating historical events dating back to 1812.
Besides the center piece there are a variety of pieces to observe such as the sterling coffee urn, silver lamps or electroliers, and serving utensils. As of today the set is worth a substantial sum of $52,000.
The design is fashioned after “The Colonial” which is admired for its simple nature. The exhibit embodies the traditional spirit through its articulate craftsmanship.